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Ariz. business leaders call for veto of anti-gay religious freedom bill

Ariz. business leaders call for veto of anti-gay religious freedom bill

PHOENIX — Arizona’s biggest business advocacy group is calling on Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a bill allowing business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to refuse service to gays.

Az-chamber-of-commerceThe legislation passed last week has triggered a national backlash from supporters of gay rights, and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is among business groups requesting a veto.

The chamber said Monday the bill could hurt tourism, make it hard to recruit new businesses and open the door to lawsuits against businesses.

But conservative groups supporting the legislation are pushing back and hoping Brewer signs it in to law.

U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake have both said they hope Brewer vetoes the bill, as have Arizona’s Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Treasurer Doug Ducey, both GOP candidates for governor.

On Monday, three Republican state senators who voted for the bill backtracked, and also called for a governor’s veto. Had the three lawmakers voted against the bill, it would have failed in the Senate.

The state Senate is expected to formally send the already approved bill to Brewer as early as Monday afternoon. She would then have five days to act.

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